I left a comment at Blogging of the President, after a piece by Matt Stoller about the Orlando meeting of Democratic Party State Directors. Matt is attending, and describing for us how the State Directors have new power in the coming selection of a new head of the Democratic National Committee. This choice will set the future direction of the Democratic Party. Here’s my comment:
Matt wrote, “No one is happy with the national party, in particular how John Kerry ran his campaign. … complaints about either Kerry’s message…” and later “… it’s becoming clear that the right-wing message machine has local permutations, and that it must be fought on a national level.”
I’m hoping that more people in the leadership make the connection between those two concerns. The Republican machine IS the candidate’s message. Let me explain. The Republican machine is a full-time, ongoing operation consisting of about 500 well-funded organizations, employing thousands of professional operatives at the national and state level. IT is what sets the Republican issue agenda and comes up with the message. Republican candidates only have to show up, and it doesn’t so much matter who the candidate is. (I mean, look who they are able to run…) The machine takes care of the task of educating the public about the issues, and getting the carefully-crafted messages out, and the machine is doing it year-round, every year. Take the current Social Security “crisis”. How long have they been pounding the public with that lie, just to get ready for candidates to show up and say they will “solve the problem?” Get my point – the public is prepared for their election campaigns long in advance of the election.
But on our side we’re always talking about finding the right candidate, and hoping the candidate can articulate an effective message. Democratic candidates are on their own. THEY have to come up with – and explain – issues, from scratch, entirely during the election cycle. And THEY have to spread the word to the public. Again, during the election cycle and with their own resources.
See the difference? Republican success comes from the work done OUTSIDE of the election cycle, by organizations that are not even legally considered partisan. Our side has almost nothing in place to compete with this.
By the way, I co-authored a new report on this that just came out. Here is the Table of Contents, linking to HTML versions of each section.
Update – I just realized there are a lot of new readers here who might not be aware of this collection of links to articles, reports and resources for learning about the right-wing movement, its history, how it is funded and how it operates.